The Plucky Squire Looks Even Better Than We Thought in New Gameplay Trailer

One of 2024’s most exciting games looks better every time we see it.

key art from The Plucky Squire
Devolver Digital

Some games have a concept so good it’s almost impossible to see it in action without wanting to play it. That’s the exact experience a lot of people had with The Plucky Squire. Its reveal trailer from last year showed a 2D RPG that takes place within a storybook, with suitably cartoon-y illustrations — impressive enough on its own — until its hero jumps out of the book and into 3D space, even moving back into 2D by diving onto other flat surfaces around the room. Now, we’ve got a closer look at how that will work in practice, and I’m even more impatient for The Plucky Squire’s 2024 release.

As enticing as the first Plucky Squire trailer is, it’s mostly a lot of clips of disparate activities, offering a brief glimpse at everything the game has to offer. Puzzles! Boxing mini games! It’s great! Like most trailers, though, it didn’t make it clear how all that will come together in play. A new Feb. 21 trailer from publisher Devolver Digital solves that mystery, and as it turns out, The Plucky Squire puts all its various pieces together in a fascinating way.

The Plucky Squire’s latest trailer walks us through the game’s ingenious puzzle design.

The short new trailer covers a single puzzle. The titular plucky squire gets a tip from a talking rabbit — this being a storybook and all — about where to find a key for a locked gate. Using a magic portal, the squire jumps out of the book he’s in, turning the page to enter a new area.

Finding the key involves solving a short puzzle. The squire needs to move a sliding minecart in place to bridge a gap between himself and the key, but there’s no obvious way to move the cart. So the squire jumps out of the book and lifts the page the cart is on, causing the cart to slide down the page and into place.

It’s a short, simple interaction, but this quick glimpse of gameplay has me more excited than any epic CGI trailer ever could. The Plucky Squire has an unbelievably good hook, but if it doesn’t turn that into anything more interesting, the fun wouldn’t last. On its own, this new trailer might be less impressive than the bag of tricks shown in last year’s trailer, but I can now start to imagine what it might feel like to play, and I absolutely cannot wait.

The Plucky Squire is a gorgeous cartoon-y adventure with a twist.

Devolver Digital

Putting this new footage together with previous trailers, The Plucky Squire seems to be borrowing different ideas from a wide swath of games, and remixing them into something totally original. One of my favorite games of 2023, Cocoon, featured several nested worlds the player could jump between, and actions in one world could be the solution to puzzles in another. The Plucky Squire explores a similar idea, letting its hero move from his book to the tabletop it sits on, using mechanics in the 3D world to get around obstacles in the 2D world.

A more obvious comparison is to the 2D Legend of Zelda games, like A Link to the Past. The Plucky Squire’s 2D sections seem very Zelda-inspired, featuring the same top-down camera and similar combat mechanics — except for the times where it takes on a sidescrolling perspective instead.

While they weren’t shown in the latest trailer, The Plucky Squire is packed with minigames. So far, we’ve seen glimpses of archery, Punch Out-inspired boxing, Gradius-style spaceship combat, and turn-based battles. More than anything, that reminds me of minigame compilations like WarioWare, or even the minigame-filled older Final Fantasy games.

The Plucky Squire looks so varied every screenshot of it could be from a different game.

Devolver Digital

Despite that massive list of the game’s clear inspirations, The Plucky Squire couldn’t be further from looking derivative. There’s a reason its first reveal trailer caught on. On top of its brilliant perspective-switching premise, The Plucky Squire has a gorgeous graphical style and tons of whimsical charm. Befitting its storybook aesthetics, there’s even an unseen narrator describing the action as it happens.

There’s still plenty of room for The Plucky Squire to surprise us before its release. It’s clear that trying to pin this game down is a futile endeavor, as every trailer shows an exciting new side to it. This year still has a handful of games I’m looking forward to more than The Plucky Squire, but the more I see of it, the more convinced I am that it’s going to be one of 2024’s most joyful surprises when it launches.

The Plucky Squire releases on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC in 2024.

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